The probably most committed plea for electromobility came from Stefan Niemand, Director Battery Electric Vehicles at Audi. He criticized the electromobility strategy currently prevailing across wide parts of the industry. “These cars are slower than those with conventional drive and they have a much lower range – and in compensation they are more expensive,” he said. With this strategy, electromobility won’t see any breakthrough soon. According to Niemand, car buyers want to buy a sustainable vehicle, and they even are ready to pay a premium if they do not have to accept losses in terms of driving fun. If carmakers would abandon their restraints, the electromobility landscape would look quite different, he made clear. “Those who had ever driven electrically are lost for the internal combustion engine for all times”, Niemand said. He used the opportunity to praise Audi’s activities in this field – the company has decided to launch series production of an electric three-motor luxury SUV with up to 370 kW (500 hp) in 2018.
To avoid long charging breaks during long-distance trips, it is necessary to build up a DC charging infrastructure with an electric power of 350 kW, Niemand demanded. “We need awesome cars and a seamless infrastructure,” he said. Here comes Tesla into play – the competitor has single-handedly established such a high-performance infrastructure. The Audi manager conceded he is impressed by the American manufacturer. “I hate to admit it, but Tesla did everything right”, he said.